Sunday, August 24, 2008

More than a leisure activity?

In a review of "Human ---The Science of what makes us Unique" by the cognitive neuroscientist Michael S.Gazzaniga,his colleague, Daniel J. Levitin writes; " Art may be more than a leisure activity. Artistic, representational thinking , could have been fundamental in making us the way we are. As Gazzaniga concludes 'The Arts are not frosting but baking powder'." [Memo to self: put that last bit on a t-shirt.]

But ----Art MAY be more than...? COULD have been fundamental in...?Come now, gentlemen. Don't be so diffident!That representational thinking is fundamental to the way we are is incontrovertible. As for suggesting that art MAY be more than leisure activity ! Think about Nuriyev and his corsaire, Richard Serra and his labyrinths, Wagner and his ring, Michelangelo and his scaffold.Or any of the rest of us amateurs or professionals at our easels, word-processors or pianos. It is demanding work, as rigorous in the need to find the right mark or word or sound as any science is. It has always been that way. Lascaux was not created by bored prehistoric teenagers eager to spray some graffiti. The arts may entertain , but entertainment is not its prime function. Communicating thoughts is. And always was , even in the days when we raced around the veld chasing our lunch.

People who want to see leisure activity should pop in on the staff at the White River Licensing Office. Eeissh!

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